1. Winning the derby has always been a great feeling but over the past few years, the pressure has been on. When City were shit, they still managed to hand out drubbings to our team that would go on to be champions, and not much was made of it outside of Manchester/Stockport. These days though, even if City got a fluky 1-0, the talk of the power shift in Manchester would go in to overdrive. You wouldn’t be able to escape the deluded blues tick tocking, whilst the press would make the most of United taking a tumble. Today felt brilliant but not just because we get to shut those idiots up, but because we’ve put ourself in a brilliant position to reclaim our title, which is far more important than any derby or any record.
2. Chris Smalling was Man of the Match for me, no question. Whilst Nemanja Vidic was also a brick wall at the back, Smalling went over and above the expectations. He was just so solid, winning the ball in situations he had no right to and not showing the slightest inkling of nerves in what was his first Manchester derby. This was a big game for one of our new signings and aged just 21-years-old, he played like a seasoned pro. It’s looking like we’ve got Rio Ferdinand’s replacement at just a third of his price too. £10m is starting to look like a massive bargain. You can only imagine that the manager wishes he’d got Smalling to warm up quickly ahead of our game against Wolves last weekend. Smalling head and shoulders above Evans in the pecking order now.
3. Micah Richards should be ashamed of how many times he got skinned by a 37-year-old today. There’s 15 years between the two players yet the advantage Richards’ youth should have presented was nowhere to seen. Giggs played some odd balls at times but I was repeatedly impressed by his ability to beat his man. He doesn’t have speed on his side, so we just have his excellent movement to thank. His ball through to Nani for the opening goal was sublime. Legend.
4. How can we play like that at home and so badly away? We’ve won all but one of our games at home and are at least 13 points better than any side in the country on home form. Our midfield is so wishy washy away but today we bossed this area of the pitch. If anything, our problem was what to do with the ball once we got past the midfield and were looking to score. Rooney struggled to make a difference for so much of the game because we couldn’t get the ball to him, with Lescott and Kompany towering over him. It only takes one moment to change a game though.
5. Five days ago, after another poor display from Rooney against Wolves, I wrote ‘Time For Rooney To Earn His Money‘. The situation was embarrassing for both the player and club. Rooney believed he was so good he could hold the club to ransom over a £180k-a-week deal whilst the club bent over backwards to keep him and made him the top earner in the country. For him to then score so infrequently this season made an even bigger farce of the situation. There was no way Rooney was going to be able to turn his season around and bang in 20 before May, but there was still time for him to make a difference, and he had to start scoring big goals in big games. Obviously I was hoping for a goal against City but even with that in mind, couldn’t have imagined a late winner of the quality he scored today. Well done, Wayne. More of the same.